'Most Haunted Place on Earth' Is for Sale

Italian island of Poveglia said to have hosted brutal lobotomies

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 17, 2014 9:04 AM CDT | Updated Apr 20, 2014 8:01 AM CDT

(Newser) – The island of Poveglia is, according to the Independent, "arguably the most haunted place on Earth"—and now it can be yours. The Italian government is auctioning off a lease to the unpopulated 17-acre island near Venice where, following the 1922 opening of a mental hospital, a doctor is said to have carried out brutal lobotomies on patients; he allegedly used hand drills and hammers to go about his work. Eventually, believing ghosts had driven him insane, he leaped from a tower in the hospital. If that's not enough to tempt you to snatch up Poveglia: Long before the doctor's experiments, the island became a home for those with the plague, after two ships en route to Venice arrived there full of plague victims.

Gizmodo reports Poveglia housed people with infectious diseases for the next century. And Mental Floss shares a darker legend: that so many plague victims' bodies were burned there that the soil is now half composed of human ash. For years, the government has limited access to the island, though some ghost hunters have visited, with one Travel Channel TV host saying he was possessed there, albeit briefly. The government is auctioning off a 99-year lease for the island next month as part of an effort to reduce its debt, the Telegraph reports. Officials would like to see the winning bidder turn the hospital into a luxury hotel; no starting price has been given.

Poveglia has been called the most haunted island on the planet.
Poveglia has been called the most haunted island on the planet.   (Shutterstock)
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